Here’s the scenario: you’re young and sexually active. One day while having sex, the condom breaks. You go home in a panic, questions racing through your head at lightning speed. What if I’m pregnant? If I am pregnant, what am I gonna do? If I need an abortion, where can I go? Are my parents going to find out? How will I pay for it?
And there’s more.
First, take a deep breath and slow down. These questions will soon be addressed, and once you have some information then you can take the time -- but not too much time, in some cases -- to make your decision.
Pop A Pill
If the condom breaks and you fear pregnancy, there is something you can do about it. It’s a form of emergency contraception called Preven -- more commonly know as the "morning-after pill." It prevents a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus. But don’t sleep on it -- if you take it too late, the egg will already be in place.
"You have to make sure you get it within 72 hours of having intercourse," says Dr. Sheryl Ross, OB/GYN and co-author of Expecting Fitness and Two At a Time: Having Twins, written with Jane Seymour.
The most accessible way to get Preven is through a clinic, such as Planned Parenthood. If you have had a pregnancy scare within the last 72 hours, the California chapter of Planned Parenthood will make the morning-after pill available to you, no appointment or exam necessary. However, that policy may vary from state to state, so make sure to check your local chapter for their respective guidelines for obtaining the pill.
"Emergency contraception is available to everybody," says Nancy Sasaki, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, "but it’s typically given in situations where the condom broke or women who have had unprotected sex are calling us -- it’s available to them."
Sasaki hopes that Planned Parenthood will eventually be able to offer emergency contraception to women coming in for their annual exam who are at risk for these types of accidents, so they may have it accessible in their home for emergencies.